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Subject: Re: Kaufman in Otello… NY Times:
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:10:05 -0700
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I found this very interesting and pretty much on target.  When I sang, I
had no problem with the passagio.  I could sit there and it was easy.  As
for falsetto, I couldn't produce one to save my life.  I had a friend, a
baritone who was able to sing falsetto with a rich, vibrato laden sound.
He did a better Leyla Gencer then Leyla Gencer - it was uncanny - glottal
clucks and all.  I think most big voiced tenors cannot do a real falsetto.
The lyrics and leggieros are different.  Baritones, or at least, many that
I have known, can do it no problelm.

Certain sopranos, Lily Pons - and  Emma Calve, used to speak of a fourth
voice - something above their usual top.  Pons from what I have read used
to use almost a closed mouth when she would go at the extreme top.  Of
course, Pons had a very different voice than Calve but they talked about
the same thing.

Donald

On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 6:14 PM, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> That E above middle C is the break point for all normally functioning
> voices, male or female.
>
> Anything that doesn’t transition into head voice there is going to take on
> a strained and increasingly strangulated quality. Most tenors will
> transition into head voice (a fully supported head voice that sounds
> integrated with the rest of the voice) at or below that E, usually below.
> Baritones can make thrilling “open” chest voice notes on D and E-flat but
> usually will be transitioning by the E itself. Baritones who don’t
> successfully transition have strained and constricted high notes - good
> example of an another wise excellent baritone who had difficulty making
> that transition for his high notes was Gobbi. Warren, despite the size and
> power of the sound, was well into head by the E-flat.
>
> A baritone will usually maintain more of a mix for the F and maybe F# but
> if their G or above is going to have any real “gleam” on the sound, they
> need to be in head voice.
>
> Tenors singing above the E with a chest voice mix can endanger their
> ability to get into head voice for their top notes, with few exceptions.
> Vickers made sounds in the F and F# range that were mixed but managed to
> transition. Doing that requires the robustness of the true dramatic tenor
> voice, which is a rarity. This makes Wagner and Verdi’s Otello very
> dangerous for voices that, even if they have power and projection, aren’t
> true dramatic tenors. Both encourage the singer to make big, powerful
> sounds on an F and F# which is not the proper climactic point of the lyric
> or even spinto tenor. This is why so many “big” lyric or spinto tenors
> sound so exhausted and sometimes can’t even make the high A at the end of
> the first act of ‘Walküre.”
>
> Tenors typically sing their upper notes using the same kind of integrated
> head voice that women, mezzos and sopranos, normally use for their middle
> voices. The female voice moves into a head voice with a yet higher
> placement at their “second passagio” (around the F at the top of the
> stave). Some women claim to transition to yet a different register (called
> “whistle register” by some, which term has also caused great confusion) for
> the coloratura top notes.
>
> Some women sing in their middle voice with the same type of head voice
> that they use for their upper notes. This makes for good, ringing high
> notes (no need for transition) but murky, foggy sounding middle notes
> (Leonie Rysanek, sometimes Joan Sutherland).
>
> Many tenors have said that once they learned the integrated head voice
> that they use for their upper middle and top notes (at least up to C), they
> lost their ability to even produce a falsetto.
>
> Max Paley
>
>
> > On Jun 22, 2017, at 5:35 PM, Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> > Max - I'm confused. The E above middle C is just below the passagio for
> a tenor (or the
> > lowest end of it) - it's essentially the top of the middle range. (The
> first pitch of "Di quella
> > pira.") Is it possible you meant an octave higher than that? (i.e. in
> the range of the Puritani
> > high F, and also in the range where metal/hard rock singers usually
> wail?)
> >
> > On Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:18:35 -0700, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> >> It's somewhat like reading about a tenor singing a high C (or even
> B-flat) "in chest voice." If
> > anybody sang any note higher than the E above middle C in chest voice,
> it would be a shout.
> > The B-flat or C above that in chest voice would be an appalling scream.
> >>
> >> Max Paley
> >
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